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Turkey returns fire at Syria

- Associated Press - Sunday, October 7, 2012

AKCAKALE, Turkey (AP) — Turkish artillery fired toward Syria for a fifth day in a row on Sunday, minutes after a Syrian shell landed on Turkish territory.

An Associated Press video journalist witnessed the shell landing some 200 yards inside Turkey, near the border town of Akcakale. A short time later, eight mortars could be heard fired from Turkey.

Town mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan confirmed that Turkish artillery immediately returned fire. He said shrapnel from the Syrian mortar caused some damage to a grain depot, but no one was hurt by the shelling.

The Anadolu Agency reported that Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces have been shelling the town of Tal Abyad, just across from Akcakale, which is controlled by Syrian rebels.

The Turks have been returning fire since Wednesday, when Syrian shelling killed five civilians in a Turkish border town.

Turkey has vowed to retaliate against the shelling from Syria, while Turkey's parliament this week approved a bill that would allow cross-border military operations there. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Damascus not to test Turkey's patience.

Relations between Turkey and Syria, once strong allies, deteriorated sharply after the uprising against Mr. Assad began in March last year. Turkey became one of the harshest critics of Mr. Assad's crackdown while Syria accused Ankara of aiding rebels.

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